Fairland boys cut down Oaks, 57-40
JACKSON, Ohio -- Fairland knew exactly what it took Friday night to take down top-ranked Oak Hill.
Instead of depending on one person to cut down the Oaks, the Dragons used a solid team approach from start to finish to earn a 57-40 win in the Ohio Division III boys basketball section championship at Jackson High School.
"We've played well defensively at times, but I think this was the most consistent stretch," Fairland coach Nathan Speed said. "The key is defense. Our defense has gotten so much better. Offensively, you may have a good or bad night, but finally we are playing team defense."
Evan Maddox led the Dragons with 16 points, but it was the play of senior guard Luke Phillips that pushed the team out to an early lead before big man Tyler Campbell took over in the second half.
Campbell scored all 12 of his points in the second half while doing the little things well to keep the Oaks from getting into an offensive rhythm.
"Tyler has really come on toward the end of the year," Speed said. "He did what he needed to. He clogged the middle when they got inside. He went straight up to defend and stood his ground and he did a good job of keeping (Oak Hill center Dennis) Fleming off the boards."
When the Oaks drove into the lane Campbell was there to use his big frame to alter shots and when the Oaks looked to connect from the outside, the 6-foot-3 junior was there to secure the rebound and start the break for the Dragons.
Fairland led for all but 90 seconds as Phillips exploded out of the gate, scoring seven in the first quarter as the Dragons jumped out on the Oaks.
More importantly, he kept the Oak Hill shooters from getting clear looks at the rim while also keeping active hands that disrupted passing lanes and kept the Oaks' screen-oriented offense from getting into a flow.
"He's the energizer bunny," Speed said. "He's always face-guarding and he's scoring -- just doing a little bit of everything. He's a senior and he wanted another chance to play in the districts."
Fairland led 19-11 at the half and used a quick burst to start the third period to balloon the lead to 14 before a 9-0 run by Oak Hill cut the score to 30-25 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
Maddox took things into his hands at that point, spreading the court and using a crossover to gain separation before burying a 17-foot jumper in front of Oak Hill's Jonathon Harrison to end the run.
Nathan Campbell followed with a tip-in off an offensive rebound to push the lead back to nine entering the final quarter.
Chance Short scored 10 in the second half for Fairland, which advances to the district semifinal against the Eastern Brown/Southeastern winner at 2 p.m. March 2 at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
Jordan Fisher finished with 14 points to lead Oak Hill while Kyle Cox added 10.
FAIRLAND 11 8 15 23 -- 57: Maddox 16, Phillips 13, T. Campbell 12, Short 10, N. Campbell 6.
OAK HILL 5 6 14 15 -- 40: Fisher 14, Cox 10, Salyers 9, Stiltner 5, Harrison 2.
COAL GROVE 52, NELSONVILLE-YORK 47 (OT): D.J. Miller hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left and Conor Markins got a partial block of a 3-point attempt and finalized the win with a layup to give the Hornets the sectional title.
It appeared the win was in doubt after Markins was stripped with 30 seconds left and the Hornets leading 48-47. However, Colt Adams' layup attempt was too strong and Miller secured the rebound before being fouled.
It was all part of a wild contest in which the teams went to overtime after Nelsonville-York's Jeremy Warren hit a 3-pointer with 1:23 left. The Hornets had a chance to win in regulation, but a 3-point attempt by Brandon Adkins was off the rim.
The game was intense from the start and emotions nearly came to a breaking point late in the second quarter when a technical foul was assessed to Coal Grove's Jonathan Joseph after he and Josh Fayette came together in transition.
Coal Grove's Isaiah Gunther connected on a 3-pointer as time wound down in the first half to cut Nelsonville-York's lead to 28-27.
Miller finished with 16 points for the Hornets while Sean Paulus added 10.
Adams finished with 16 points for Nelsonville-York and Fayette scored 11.
NELSONVILLE-YORK 19 9 7 11 1 -- 47: Fayette 11, Adams 16, Elliott 6, Kilbarger 7, Warren 7.
COAL GROVE 18 9 9 10 6 -- 52: Miller 16, Gunther 6, Paulus 10, Adkins 6, Markins 4, Pleasants 6, Akers 4 .